Facebook has quietly launched Small Business Boost, a contest that will award ten small businesses up to $10,000 in Facebook advertising.

The social network is trying to promote its advertising platform, as well as Facebook Pages – which can really help small businesses grow and interact with online communities.

Advertising is starting to play a bigger role on the social network as it continues testing new ad formats and integrating current options – such as Sponsored Stories – into users’ Timelines and News Feeds.

Small business owners in the U.S. that manage Facebook Pages are eligible to enter. If you have at least 50 Likes on your Page when you enter, you’ll get $50 in free Facebook ads. By adding another 100 Likes to your Page before April 1, 2012, you will receive $100 more in free ads.

Facebook will award $10,000 in free ads to the ten Pages that gain the most Likes before the April 1st deadline. It’s important that as you try to gain more Likes that you don’t adopt a strategy that could violate Facebook Page terms or devalue your Page. If you need a little inspiration, take a look at five small businesses using Facebook right.

[Via: Inside Facebook, Image credit: Anthony Kelly]